Yesterday, Sony Pictures announced that its latest streaming service, called Ultra, will launch on April 4. First announced at CES last January, the service will start by offering a variety of movies from Sony Pictures in 4K/UHD resolution, many with high dynamic range using HDR10, "digital extras" (presumably similar to Blu-ray bonus features), and UltraViolet functionality to allow various devices to share the same content.
The service, which is powered by the online Sony Pictures Store
, will be available only on new Sony 4K/UHD TVs in the US. Customers who buy eligible TVs with Ultra this summer will receive four complimentary movies when they sign up for the service, which will help take a bit of the sting out of the $30 purchase price for each movie. (Ultra will not offer rentals at launch.) Those who have already purchased HD versions of available titles from the Sony Pictures Store will be able to upgrade them to 4K/UHD/HDR on Ultra for a special discounted price, though we don't know how significant that discount will be.
As you might imagine, only Sony Pictures titles will be available for now, including new releases such as Concussion, The Night Before, and The Walk as well as catalog titles like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters.
Jake Winett, VP of Consumer Services & Advanced Platforms at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, says, "Consumers are rapidly upgrading their living rooms to 4K, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's new Ultra streaming service will provide a premium viewing experience to satisfy growing demand for 4K movies and television shows. Ultra takes advantage of the latest industry innovations—4K resolution, high dynamic range, a wider color spectrum, digital movie extras, and UltraViolet interoperability—so viewers get the most out of their televisions and their movie collections."
To which I would add, so viewers get the most out of their Sony televisions and Sony Pictures movie collections. Still, anything that gets more HDR content into the market is good news in my book.